October 1, 2009

UP Opens New Kate Shelley Bridge

Representing an investment of more than $50 million by Union Pacific, the bridge improved operating efficiency and increased freight capacity on the railroad's busy corridor linking Chicago to the West Coast. The new Kate Shelley Bridge, located west of Boone, Iowa, is more than 2,800 feet long and 190 feet high, making it one of the tallest double-track railroad bridges on the continent. It was designed to handle today’s heavy trains traveling at speeds up to 70 mph. The new bridge replaced a steel structure built in 1901 by the Chicago & North Western.

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The original bridge was named for 15-year-old Kate Shelley, who in 1881 risked her safety to warn of a washed-out bridge near her home. Her heroic efforts saved the lives of dozens of passengers on an eastbound passenger train. She was the first woman to have a bridge named for her.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. To mark our 150th anniversary, we invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.